This all started out very innocently. Amando and I were at the Holy Spring Temple walking around taking photos. There was an adorable child playing with something so I waved hi. I took one step to walk away, and the child’s father said, “Scuse me, Miss, can we take photo with you?” I obliged. But wait, there’s more!
Java, as you would have guessed by the name, has excellent coffee. Traveling is tiring so we need it to stay awake and it varies from place to place. After a couple weeks backpacking we’ve gone from the hustle and bustle of Yogyakarta, by bus to the timber fallen mountain village of Kaliurang, an eight hour train ride to the hip design city of Bandung, and another train ride to Jakarta, we’ve also had a chance to eat the varying cuisine the region offers. But wait, there’s more!
Last night the news on every channel was that bombs had been found around Jakarta because of the upcoming Easter weekend. Americans have been advised to be careful, stay away from all demonstrations, and keep their wits about them. So we’re being careful, but the story need not always be one sided. Jakarta is crowded, smoggy, and massive, but everyone we’ve met, Muslim and Christian have welcomed us as friends.
Reading the The Great Railway Bazaar a couple years back partly inspired a rougher getaway through Asia, and reading this article now makes me glad we took this trip. “The map of the possible world being redrawn right now — parts of it in tragic and unsettling ways — might soon mean new opportunities for the traveler who dares to try it. Travel, especially of the old laborious kind, has never seemed to me of greater importance, more essential, more enlightening.”
A story about the President’s mother in some of the places we’ve described in our blog. Turns out some descriptions regarding Indonesian people, culture, and places haven’t really changed.
Re-shaping our attitudes regarding dirty water. The staggering amount of offerings ending up in the ocean and waters in and around West Java and Bali have kept us out of some waters. Although, noticeably bags of Lays chips are not probably offerings, it does seem as though one thing leads to another. In Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak (Bali) so much rubbish ends up on the beach we wonder if its pushing away tourist’s return trips. Nonetheless, here’s a different perspective found in the NYT Magazine.
I rode a friend’s dirtbike a couple times when I was 16. Flash forward ten years when I almost crashed my friend Alan’s Vespa into a car in the same driveway. That was my last attempt on two wheels before renting a scooter and putting my fiancee on the back. The guy who rented it to me ($9 total for 3 days plus gas) though explained how to honk the horn (very necessary) and how to store the helmets. I asked where the gas tank was he looked at me with one skeptical eyebrow raised and said, “Why don’t you try first?” I went about 30 shaky feet before he yelled stop and Erika hopped on saying, “you know you were on the wrong side of the road, right?” Indonesia drives on the left. But wait, there’s more
We LOVE to eat. We love food. We love talking about food, eating great food, cooking nice meals, and telling stories of meals we’ve eaten with others. As such, we introduce you to Foodie Friday, where we bring you gastronomic delights from half way around the globe.
Just because we are on a tight budget doesn’t mean we aren’t eating well. In fact, cheap, good food is one of the reasons we came over to this part of the world. Indonesia has been filled so far with lots of fruit, rice, noodles, curries, chicken, pork and fish. But wait, there’s more!
On Day 2 in Singapore, Amando asked our host (and his old college roommate) Chris….”what’s the word you once told me for someone who is at a buffet and keeps piling food on their plate so that they don’t miss out on anything?” Chris answered, “kiasu”. “YES!”, yelled Amando. Then quickly turned to me in the backseat and said “that’s the word I’ve been wanting to call you ever since I heard it 10 years ago!” Insert eye roll from the back seat and laughter from the front of the car. Chris went onto explain that we should all have a little bit of Kiasu in us, for it also means “fear of missing out on life”. Wikipedia describes Kiasu as a Hokkien (a Chinese spoken variant) word that literally means ‘fear of losing’. Many of you that know me well are either at this point shaking your head “yes” in agreement or laughing at how spot on this description is of me. So I will indulge you… But wait, there’s more!
Today we left Bali for Java, and there are things we already miss : friendly and approachable people, incredible architecture, dark skin in romanticized island attire, a devoutly religious culture, and folks who love to bargain. If you are looking for a tropical island where the locals like testing their English, religious deities and ceremonies that are inspiring yet festive, a place where you ache at the thought you can’t stop at every temple, you have an excuse to wear a sarong and a sash, and where you can always get a fair deal even if you didn’t get a good deal, Bali is your place. But wait, there’s more!
The last few days we have been blessed to see two incredible Balinese temples. The first, Tanah Lot, is located on the southwestern coast in Bali. Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th century priest Nirartha and has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples were built so they were within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast. But wait, there’s more!
We decided to take a day trip around Bali to see more of the island. Made, our guide, was fantastic! We headed toward Kintamani and had lunch overlooking Mount Batur. Here we share our day with you:
If you are coming to Ubud and need a great guide, let us know and we’ll send you his contact information. He speaks great English, drives well and has a nice car, and took us to quieter, less “touristy” places.